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Vitality Netball Superleague 2022: Round 3 predictions

Ine-Mari Venter of Saracens Mavericks during the match between Celtic Dragons and Saracens Mavericks at Resorts World, Birmingham, England on 6th February 2022 (Image: Ben Lumley)

It’s predictions time again.

Tamsin Greenway set the bar – and set it quite high after the first round of action – racking up 27 points by successfully predicting all of Saturday’s winners.

A reminder of the points system

3 points for the correct outcome

5 bonus points if score prediction is correct

3 bonus points if score prediction is within 1-3 goals

2 bonus points if score prediction is within 4-9 goals

1 bonus point if score prediction is within 10-15 goals

We are very much back for Round 3 and The Netball Show podcaster and Guardian Netball writer Chloe Merrell is putting herself  in the mix.

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The 2022 VNSL season kickstarted with a huge bang last weekend no thanks to London Pulse who delivered the biggest upset of the Season Opener with a triumphant victory over Team Bath.

Who saw that coming?

If it’s a sign of things to come then bring it on because a season jam-packed full of twists and turns is my kind of season, especially with July’s big dance to come…

London Pulse v Saracens Mavericks (Friday, 7pm) – watch live on Sky Sports YouTube channel

There is little doubt that Pulse will enter this match buoyed by their fantastic win against 2021 finalists Team Bath.

Funmi Fadoju caused all kinds of mayhem in defence last week and I expect Mavs will have prepared for her presence and range ahead of the match-up.

Ine-Mari Venter, however, is an altogether different kind of prospect than Kim Borger and the South African appears to have brought momentum with her from the Quad Series.

I expect this will be a passionate, dogged match but I think experience is going to win this game and I am going to go with Mavericks by 5.

Sirens v Leeds Rhinos (Friday, 7.30pm)

This match is sure to be one fans will have their eyes on largely because of the way last year’s league debutants recruited in the off-season.

Sigi Burger and Amy Clinton join Rhea Dixon and Sienna Rushton at the franchise and from the outside it’s hard to deny that it’s an interesting group.

It looks like you have three out-and-out goal shooters and one goal attack – or do you? Will one of these ‘shooters’ bib up in GA? How Leeds put together their shooting end, I think will dictate their force this season.

I’m interested, too, to see what kind of coach Tracey Robinson turns out to be.

They face a tough test in Sirens who flashed their top four credentials last weekend. We know the Scotland-based team are methodical and structured. This one is tough but I’m going with Sirens by 4.

Manchester Thunder v Surrey Storm (Saturday, 5pm) – watch live on Sky Sports YouTube channel

Nat Metcalf is officially back in the fold for Thunder and with the way the former champs came out last weekend they’re hard to bet against for this game.

The one thing I felt was missing from Thunder was firepower in defence. I know Shadine van der Merwe will eventually come into the fold, but I am interested to see how they’ve progressed in this area during the week.

Like all fans I was delighted to Proscovia Peace back on a VNSL court. I think Storm will have taken their loss against Severn Stars quite hard and will enter this match with the intent to deliver.

Still, I’m going with the team I think will clinch the title this year… Thunder by 20.

Loughborough Lightning v Celtic Dragons (Saturday, 6pm)

Celtic Dragons looked really exciting last weekend all the way up and down the court.

As each season goes by, I think Georgia Rowe gets stronger as a player and as an athlete, and her partnership with Lefebre Rademan will be critical for the Wales-based franchise going forward.

Given the international calendar I don’t think these two have had the off-season prep Dragons would have liked but they’ve shown already glimpses of what they’re capable of and I think, we’re all agreed, we approve.

League champs Lightning, however, are a formidable prospect and I don’t think at this early-stage Dragons will be able to quite match their might.

It will be a good litmus test for the green and black and I am relishing seeing newcomer Shaquanda Greene-Noel go up against Mary Cholhok. Lightning to win by 19.

Wasps v Severn Stars (Saturday, 7pm)

It was a tough weekend for Wasps for suffered two losses from two at the season opener and I am sure that will have bruised.

The likes of Rachel Dunn, Josie Huckle and Iona Christian are unlikely to take that laying down and will have this match against Stars pegged as one to win.

If Ella Powell-Davies can keep Paige Reed quiet, then I think Wasps will find joy. That might entail hounding a certain Liana Leota too; not an enviable task but one necessary to stem Stars’ firepower.

The question for the away team will be whether they can stop the ball getting into Dunn it’s another challenging prospect and one I don’t think Stars will manage to pull off. Wasps to win by 9.

Leeds Rhinos v Team Bath (Monday) – watch live on Sky Sports Mix and Main Event from 5pm

Beware the wounded beast.  A phrase that bears thinking about ahead of this match.

Regardless of what Leeds do on Friday, Team Bath will be focused on themselves going into this one and how it all got away from them against London Pulse last Sunday.

It was clear to me that Bath, though finding an amazing amount of turnover ball still thanks to Layla Guscoth’s superhero efforts, were missing Serena Guthrie.

Should the England skipper be back and in the mix then I think Team Bath will be fired up take this one.

The mobility of the Borger-Drakeford-Lewis combination will prove too tall a task for the Leeds defence, who welcome ex-Thunder player Rebekah Airey into their midst. Team Bath by 10.  

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